Grayson Highlands 2015 – Day One

Virginia Creeper Trail Bike Ride And Sunset Hike

A group of ten of us from South Carolina and Ohio convened at Grayson Highlands State Park in Virginia, for what promised to be a few days and nights of outdoors fun and adventure.  This is the fourth or fifth year that our group has gone, and my third year.

We started day one by renting bikes and riding a 17 mile segment of the 34.3 mile long Virginia Creeper Trail. After being shuttled to Whitetop Station, we began our ride down toward Damascus.

After riding for about two miles, we arrived at the Green Cove station.  It is the only remaining original depot building and in it’s day, had been a general store and post office.  There are plenty of artifacts on display and you can still purchase candy, soda, or a souvenir.

A little further along the trail, we came upon these red barns.  I love the setting and each year, I’ve stopped here to take pictures.  Later, we passed an old log cabin and a small red building made from a railroad car.

The trail varies and at this location we rode through a rolling open field with bright green grass.

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There are forty-seven trestles and bridges along the Virginia Creeper Trail.  The first image is of one of the longer bridges that we crossed and which seems to disappear into the trees.

The trail follows the Whitetop Laurel Creek.  At times, the creek passes through a gorge, while in other places, it’s choked with large boulders that create small cascades of water.

As has been our ritual, we stopped for lunch at the Creeper Trail Cafe (I had the meatloaf sandwich), then finished our ride to Damascus.  Afterwards, we drove to the state park and and settled into our rented bunkhouse.  One of the lower corner bunks is my favorite and I got to sleep there again this trip.

In the evening, we went for a short hike along the Twin Pinnacle Trail.  As we walked, we saw this cool looking tree that has grown right on top of a sizable boulder.  Once we reached Big Pinnacle, I explored the rocks below while the others settled into their spots to watch the sunset.

These are a few of the views that we had from our perch on top of Big Pinnacle.  There were already hints of Fall in some of the foliage.

Wayne (right front), Ron and Pam (in the back), and a couple that had arrived before our group, appear ready to watch the sun go down.

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The sky turned various shades of red, yellow, orange, pink, and purple as the sun wasted little time setting behind the mountains.

Back at the bunkhouse, we struggled (and finally succeeded) to make a campfire.  The wood we had purchased from the host was not altogether dry.  At about Hiker Midnight (9 pm), we put the fire out and headed inside to go to sleep.

Day one was now behind us.

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